By Lanre Alfred.
In a universe that has not always made space for women, Oyindamola Lami Adeyemi, the founder and Group Managing Director of Still Earth Group, has fearlessly taken up a conspicuous space for herself. Now, the power and pull of her entrepreneurial attainments are making space for a new generation of young women who are willing to interrogate their fears and achieve greatness. And it is not hard to see why; writes Lanre Alfred
Bliss glitters in the heart and feline frame of Oyin Adeyemi. As she adds another year to her enchanting life, the pert, blue flame of joy burns through her pretty frame, brightening her world and burnishing her persona with irrepressible shine. Oyin is beside herself with joy for being privileged to witness yet another glorious addition to her inspiring days.
Beautiful in an exotic, utterly understated way, Oyin exudes vigour, drama, fortitude, and happiness. Very early in life, she attained entrepreneurial acclaim for her inspiring exploits in the business world— you could be forgiven for imagining that she was shepherded by a savvy, tireless innate alter ego to get to her current height.
Yes, that entrepreneurship is a viable tool to fast-track Africa’s development and consolidate on the gains of a new age is a truism boldly embodied and embraced by brainy Oyindamola Lami Adeyemi, the chief executive officer of construction giant, Still Earth Limited. A self-driven entrepreneur who comes across as an enviable Amazon and achiever in an area and era where everyone seems to understate the role and worth of a driven woman, those who know Oyin say she exemplifies a modern yet timeless construct of femininity that manifests as a blend of relentless and noble pursuits.
For the past decade and more, she has worked hard to attain her current status and, therefore, is far removed from the contemporary alpha female stereotype that glorifies flamboyance, self-aggrandizement, and narcissism above substance. Oyin is aware that she orbits a universe that has not always made space for women and, thus, has fearlessly taken up a conspicuous space for herself. Now, the power and pull of her entrepreneurial attainments are making space for a new generation of young women who are willing to interrogate their fears and achieve greatness. And it is not hard to see why.
Starting a company is a riveting roller coaster of emotions with tremendous highs and, at times, difficult lows. Nevertheless, Oyin did not cut corners on her way up the ladder of success; she paid her dues by working at the First City Monument Bank PLC and Equatorial Trust Bank, where she rose to become the head, Public Sector Group (Ogun). But she knew that the regimented routine of banking work wasn’t her thing.
She then tried her hands on the retail fashion business, traveling to England to import quality products. Later, she was a realtor assisting clients in different real estate business aspects, including rentals and sales. However, her inability to raise adequate funds to finance the business posed a serious threat, but Oyin was not one to give up without putting up a spirited fight. A fortuitous draft of a manifesto brought Oyin before former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and she was included in his strategy team for his 2011 presidential run. Beautiful and brainy, Oyin made an impression on the cerebral politician.
fter that, she found her life’s ultimate purpose in the construction industry when she established Still Earth Group.
Its vision is to develop the country’s infrastructural base by executing projects that engender real benefits for the communities it serves. The firm adopts an uncompromising approach to professional values and standards. The company also aims to be an international market leader; a preferred general construction contractor globally recognized while achieving consistency and proficiency in delivering outstanding services and adding value for clients through professionalism, pro-activity, creativity, transparency, timeliness, and qualitative performance.
“My story is one of grit, resilience, and persistence, which over the years has built a solid foundation to pursue excellence end-to-end and achieve higher goals,” she stated on her LinkedIn page.
It has been a concatenation of successes for Still Earth, a factor she hinged on the company’s passion for achieving set goals and objectives. In the past decade, its clientele base has become an eloquent testimony of how prolific and professional it has been. Further, we also have challenges with the working environment that we face in respect of the unique weather, which is often wet and is not too good for our kind of work.
Still Earth has a portfolio of completed projects and satisfied clients in the public and private sectors, including Julius Berger Nigeria, Dangote Refinery, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, Oyo State Government, Niger Delta Development Commission, Lagos State, Ekiti State, Akwa Ibom State, Delta State, the Federal Ministry of Transport, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, and many high net-worth individuals.
According to her, the successes recorded so far boil down to the team and the corporate values and culture upheld at Still Earth Limited.
“We have in place a board of directors comprising veterans who are passionate about Still Earth Limited. They always bring their experience and expertise to bear. Our management team is peopled by technocrats whose professionalism can compete with global standards.
“I think I have been lucky with having the right people with me all the way. Our clients have also been a part of our huge success. Most of the state governors we work with award us contracts based on their determination to improve the welfare of the people in the state and also to improve their standards of living,” said Oyin.
A patriotic and realistic believer in Nigeria, Oyin could just sit back and be satisfied with her multimillion-naira construction company. But her matchless, can-do spirit has seen her continually ideating and innovating. She has recently diversified into the finance sector with the establishment of Still Earth Capital Finance, a multi-faceted financial services company offering tailored financial services and solutions to individuals, companies, and the public sector.
The Victoria-Island, Lagos-based company provides a diversified range of financial services, including consumer finance, commercial and SME finance, corporate finance, financial advisory, and wealth management services. Its mission statement is to provide outstanding services to its clients through technology and leverage its principal officers’ significant experience and track record covering investment banking, commercial banking, project and infrastructure finance, business strategy, and transformation in meeting its wide range of clients’ needs.
Yes, it did affect us initially. Around April and May, during the lockdown, most of our projects were stopped due to the restrictions put in place. We were still doing some interior works in buildings, but in the exteriors, we could not. But here in the office and on the site, we have put in place the parameters required, we adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols. We have hand sanitizers placed at all strategic locations in the office, we also have a temperature check system in place, and we have sanitization every two to three hours of the contact points: railings and door handle, etc, our cleaners ensure that this is done.
One major area that Still Earth has also thrived in is its workforce. Oyin has marshalled her team well by activating and directing her people’s positive energy to achieve excellent results. She has continued to invest in qualified talents. She thus leads a workforce of trained and tested individuals to achieve her different companies’ objectives, one of which is “to work together as a team to achieve success on every project for our clients, through the professionalism, diligence and hard work that we profess and promote.”
Born to a Yoruba father from Owo and a Hausa-Fulani mother from Gombe, a racial diversity that has proved advantageous in an ethnocentric society, Oyin possesses a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in Political Economy & Governance from the University of Abuja. Oyin, with an Owner/President Management degree from the prestigious Harvard Business School, is the winner of the African Leader of Integrity Merit Award (Excellence in Corporate Governance & Service Delivery from Accra, Ghana), among other coveted honours and recognitions across Nigeria and beyond. As she added a year on March 19, there is no doubt that she has much to thank God for and leap and spin in excitement and exultation.